It’s that time of year! I love pulling together a list of suggestions to make for or give to your favorite Quilter or Sewing enthusiast (aka Sewer) every year. This year I’ve updated my list, including some fun new projects to make for quilting friends as well as new books, tools and other unique gifts. (It’s also a handy post you can use as a good ‘hint hint’ if you’re the favorite quilter in someone else’s life. 😉 You’re welcome.)
I also wanted to make sure I got the list out before all the Black Friday sales next weekend. (I’ll be posting a list of Black Friday sales next Friday.)
Important disclaimer: This post contains both affiliate links (meaning I receive a small portion of the proceeds, which helps support all of the free content year-round on this site) as well as recommendations of items that I have been given to sample by vendors. All opinions are my own, however, and only my genuine favorites make this list. Many of the items, however, are things I’ve purchased with my own hard-earned cash because I loved and wanted them or are items that were gifts I received from friends.
Handmade Gift Ideas
As most of you know, as quilters yourselves, it’s a lot of fun to make a sweet little gift for other quilting friends. Here’s a variety of handmade gift ideas ranging from large and elaborate for that special someone to quick and simple that you can produce en masse. This list is geared specifically toward other sewists, but I have another list of Handmade Gift Ideas for anyone here.
One of my favorite personal gifts to make OR receive is a sweet, custom handmade pincushion. Here are 12 of my favorite tutorials for unique pin cushions (clockwise from the top):
Mini 9-patch pincushions by Amanda Jean (who is always making inspiring pincushions – see a ton more pincushion inspiration here.)
Patchwork Pocket Pincushion from the Polkadot Chair
Simple Sprocket Pincushion by Sedef Imer
Mini dresden made by Fabric Mutt (pattern here)
Applique Wool pincushions are simple and quick to make
Traditional Economy block pincushions here
adorable Wool Mice
I have dozens more pincushion ideas on this Pincushion Pinterest Board
Sewing Machine Cover (or Mat) Tutorials: here’s a few different ones ranging from basic patchwork to much more elaborate (clockwise from top):
Thread catchers and organizers are always so handy for keeping things neat and tidy around your sewing machine. Here are a few tutorials and patterns (starting at the top and going clockwise):
Needle books are adorable and so fun to personalize. Here are a few tutorials (clockwise from the top):
Similar, but slightly different: Stationary Kit tutorial from Fabric Mutt
Magnetic pin bowls are so handy to have in the sewing room. You can buy ready-made Pleasant Home magnetic pinbowls here (so many cute options!) Or here’s a tutorial to Make Your Own Magnetic Pinbowl using any sweet bowl you have on hand. A cute vintage tea-cup or asian rice bowl would work great. I found some cute mini bowls designed by the Pioneer Woman for a great price in the dishes aisle at Walmart.
One of my favorite ever quilting-related gifts was a set of numbered marking pins. I use mine ALL the time for marking rows and keeping in order rows that need to be sewn together. Mine were made by Nancy and she has a tutorial for making these quilt row markers here. If time is not on your side, you can also buy a set of Marilee’s Numbered Pins.
Another useful gift for a quilting friend are these super handy mini design boards. My friend Emily made me some and I’ve LOVED them. They’re perfect of laying out quilt blocks, auditioning fabric, or just keeping your pieces in place until you’re ready to sew. Lori Holt has a tutorial to make your own Design Board (mine don’t have the decorative border, which is fine with me) or this video tutorial if you like the extra visuals. You can also buy Lori’s Design Boards ready made here in multiple sizes.
Another idea is to make (or buy) a full design wall. I LOVE and use my design wall every day. It has grommets and hangs next to my sewing table, but is easy to take down when needed. I have the Fons and Porter Design Wall which you can find at Joann’s or Amazon.
You could also make one yourself! Suzy Quilts has a list of great ideas for making your own Design Wall.
Another fun gift would be a Quilt Ladder for displaying quilts. There are lots of different quilt ladder styles and options on Etsy. I recently bought the black iron ladder on clearance from Magnolia, so keep you eyes peeled other places.
Unique Gifts for Quilters and Sewing Lovers
There are SO many more fun and unique sewing-themed gift options this year! Here are a few of my favorites:
Maker Valley has been making quilting and sewing themed t-shirts for a couple of years now. They regularly have new sewing/quilting/knitting designs. I’ve bought multiple Maker Valley t-shirts and I think they just get better all the time. My Sewing Heart t-shirt is one of my favorites (seen out and about here.)
I got to collaborate on two shirts this year: a red patchwork star shirt and the popular #QuiltNerd shirt. I love my Maker Valley shirts -they’re so soft and comfortable. I pretty much live in them all the time.
Maker Valley has expanded their offering to also include quilt kits, ornaments, stickers, mugs and collectible enamel sewing-themed pins. Perfect if you have have any pin-collector friends (or want to be one yourself!)
Speaking of enamel pins – there are SO many cute sewing-themed ones out there! (RicRac Sews has a bunch of cute ones too.) And collecting enamel pins just keeps getting more popular. If you have a friend who collects pins, here are a bunch of ideas for handmade enamel pin display options. One of these would make a great gift to a pin-loving friend.
Melissa Mortenson of the Polkadot Chair recently designed some adorable pre-made printed canvas zipper pouches with clever sewing-related phrases. They’re a great price for a quick gift!
Or check out these cute sewing and quilting themed socks!
Another fun jewelry option are these darling sewing-themed necklaces and charms from Charmed Collections which they now carry in gold too! I’m a total sucker for everything Charmed Collections makes – I have a few of their necklaces and I’ve given a few as gifts. They have a wide variety of other designs such as names, monograms, etc. available in rings and bracelets too.
For an extra special sewing friend, check out these miniature Tiny Tin Sewing rooms, hand crafted by Sachiko Aldous. They are so adorable and they are all unique. She has a few stocked in her Etsy Shop right now. Be advised: they often sell out quickly, but she does regularly restock, so keep checking back.
A couple years ago, Old Mountain Crafts in North Carolina sent me some of their laser-cut wood decorations and I put them together as gifts for Quilting friends. (And kept a few for my own tree.)
These customized quilt labels have been a lifesaver to me – they’ve made me so much better at actually labeling my quilts! Modern Yardage has a HUGE variety to choose from – you can choose generic labels to fill-in yourself, or customized with your name. They’re perfect for stocking up on for yourself, or would be a much appreciated gift.
Woven labels options are also becoming more popular and available! They an inexpensive, but thoughtful (and cute) gift.
If you’re looking for something different and useful, this is a great gift – especially for folks who are creative with their hands – Mom’s Stuff Salve. I have been using it for a few of years now – especially in the winter months. It’s a handmade concoction with 100% all-natural ingredients. It’s perfect for softening rough, calloused hands and feet, but it’s not greasy. A little goes a long way and the jars last a long time. I’ve bought multiple jars and given them as gifts.
Another one of my own personal favorite tools is The Quilter’s Planner. I have LOVED my 2017 and 2018 versions and can’t wait to get my hands on the 2019 planner! This year the cover artist is Camille Roskelly.
I use my planner to keep track of my everyday life and to-do lists, but I also love the pretty inspirational quotes and quilt designs. In addition to the planner itself, there is also included the Quilter’s Planner magazine with 13 quilt patterns, plus coloring pages and stickers designed by Camille. You can see more photos and all that’s included in the Quilter’s Planner HERE. This year there is an option to buy an unbound version with three-hole punches that you can customize in any binder. So smart!
I recently bought these signs for myself from Katy Sabin of Just Add Sunshine on Etsy. She hand makes them in batches and restocks her shop from time to time. Follow her on Instagram to find out when she has her next restock.
If you’re particular in your fabric tastes, you may want to be specific in your list to Santa (or Santa’s helper) to be sure you get exactly what you have your eye on.
By the way, Gretel also has coordinating Washi Tape and Woven Labels! (Hopefully you can find it at your favorite local fabric shop, but I’ll also list more links as they become available!)
There are always fun new quilting books coming out. Here are some of my favorites that came out in 2018. I’ve chosen a variety that would have broad appeal because they are both versatile and have a variety of styles and options included. They include:
Modern Patchwork Home is a beautiful book with clear, well-written patterns and a variety of projects and quilts by a great selection of designers. There are 11 smaller projects for the home (table runners, aprons, etc.) and 13 beautiful quilt patterns. This is a good one for a slightly more advanced quilter.
Modern Quilts is a brand new book by Emily Dennis. This book has 13 quilt patterns. Her large-scale style is perfect for newer quilters who want to make more simplified modern quilts. (You can read more about my review and see pictures here.)
Make your Own Medallion by Erin Burke Harris is like a choose your own adventure quilt book. In this clever (and beautiful) book, Erin gives you all of the puzzle pieces to mix and match and build your own Medallion quilt from the center out.
Books with small sewing projects: 50 Little Gifts, compiled by Susanne Woods, is a super fun collection of easy patchwork projects to make for yourself or as an adorable handmade gift.
Lori Holt’s latest book is called Vintage Christmas. It’s another winner from Lori. Lori’s book’s are some of the best bang for your buck because they are chock full of ideas and multiple ways to use her amazing blocks and patterns. I’ll be sharing more photos and a review of this book next week!
I also highly recommend Spelling Bee by Lori Holt. This book is so much fun. In addition to quilt blocks for letters and punctuation there are 16 other darling quilt blocks, each in two different sizes. You can read more about my thoughts on Spelling Bee here.
If you’re looking for a beautiful coffee table style book – not quilt patterns, but images of 230 modern quilts – check out Modern Quilts; Designs of the New Century put together by the Modern Quilt Guild.
If you are looking for a book for beginners, definitely check out Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt.
Notions and Sewing Supplies
Finally, you can never go wrong with traditional quilting notions. A few of my favorites include
Clover Fine Glasshead pins (I LOVE these)
Little House Glass Head pins are luxurious and come in a cute tin
black Elan dressmaker scissors (very affordable and stay sharp. I LOVE mine)
Olfa rotary cutter (I have 4 different kinds). My favorite is the Olfa Splash, but I also love the 60 mm extra large size for cutting lots of fabric layers at once as well as the 28 mm version for cutting applique pieces and around templates. Make sure it’s an OLFA though. They’re so much better than most rotary cutters.
Flatter Smoothing Spray (available on Amazon or from Amitie Textiles in Australia)
Rotary Cutter replacement blades are always in demand (just make sure you buy the right size for the rotary cutter you’re using.)
Seam-fix seam rippers are a recent favorite. They’re fatter and easier to grip and the rubber gripper at the end grabs and removes excess thread quickly. They also come in mini versions (pictured) in sets of three, making them a great gift to buy in bulk for multiple friends.
A new pair of scissors is always a super handy gift, not to mention pretty, gift. (Speaking as a person who seems to have a lot of scissors.) Here are some of my favorite recommendations (L to R):
Heirloom Embroidery scissors are always a pretty gift. You can find all kind of shapes and sizes.
Omnigrid mini needlecraft scissors. These scissors are super sharp for their size. I keep mine with my english paper piecing projects because they’re not only good thread snippers, but they’re sharp enough to cut fabric when needed and they’re small enough I can take them on an airplane.
This year I’m gifting myself a new, pretty pair of Gingher shears. They’ve been on my want list for a while now. I love the pretty ceramic handles in the designer series. If you can’t find them in your favorite shop, you can find a large variety on Amazon.
Vintage-inspired embroidery scissors from Warm Crochet. These are sharp little snips and look fancy too for a great price.
Olfa Precision Scissors – these are hands down, some of my favorite scissors. The blades are small and sharp – cutting fabric easily, perfect for cutting intricate work – but the handles are large and comfortable enough for real fingers to get a good grip. I use these constantly.
Sadly, the red polka dot scissors are no longer available. But you can still find lots of other cute novelty scissors available here.
Other useful tools (that would make great stocking stuffers)include:
Aurifil Thread – my favorite is the 50 wt for piecing
A Hera marker– used for making a crease on fabric – perfect for marking quilting lines without having to use writing instruments
Another favorite seam ripper by Clover (can one really have too many seam rippers?)
and a new fun favorite – Lori Holt’s colorful cutting mats. This mini version would be a fun gift to give, or receive.
It would be fun to gift some of these notions in a cute jar like this one from The Polkadot Chair (which includes the cute free-printable Sewing tag.)
Other handy gadgets and gizmos include good lighting and irons. A couple of options for portable lighting include powerful and popular Ott Lights (left). They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and provide beautiful clear, white light. I got mine from Costco – they’re one of those things that makes an occasional appearance. The light on the right is from Ikea, which has LOTS of great portable light options for really reasonable prices.
Irons are always a great gift. I have loved my Oliso iron I received a few years ago and use it regularly, but they’re definitely on the pricier side.
If you are or know someone who sews at a lot of retreats or guild events, a travel iron is very handy. I bought this little Rowenta Travel Iron after seeing a bunch of others using it at a sewing retreat and I’ve loved it. In addition to being lightweight and portable, it’s sturdy and has held up well. Plus it has the steam option if you prefer sewing with steam.
Subscriptions: The gift that keeps on giving. Literally.
Monthly fabric club bundles are a fun surprise in the mail every month and a great way to gradually build a stash. Shops with subscription fabric clubs include: Westwood Acres, Pink Castle Fabrics, and Amitie Fabric. Again, each shop has its own different specialties so you can find the right fit for you or your gift recipient.
Blueprint (aka Craftsy) Quilt Classes – did you know that you now have the option to subscribe to Blueprint and get full access to all of their video classes? They have a huge selection of quilting classes available in every style and technique. You can even start with a 7-day Free Trial to see what you think.
Subscription fabric clubs or gift boxes continue to become ever more popular. There are few different companies that offer subscription gift boxes such as Sew Sampler from Fat Quarter Shop (pictured above) which is a mystery box – each month is a fun new surprise with containing a variety of fabric, notions and quilt patterns.
Quilters Candy Box, Quilty Box, and Quilter’s Stash Box. Each company is slightly different – check them out to find the right fit for the person you’re giving too. It really is fun to look forward to a monthly surprise box full of goodies in your mailbox.
Big Ticket Items:
This year I’ve been playing with and reviewing the Cricut Maker digital cutting machine. (You can read my most recent Cricut Maker post here.) If you are looking for an alternative to cutting fabric by hand, then this is the best option I’ve found. Here’s why:
It’s versatile and customizable – you don’t need difference dies for every different shape you want to cut. There are 1,00’s of shapes and font options in the Cricut Design Space that you can resize however you like.
It’s the only digital cutting machine with a rotary blade – meaning it’s the only one that can cut unbonded fabric (i.e. fabric doesn’t need a stabilizer attached). This makes it possible to cut traditional quilt pieces with the Maker.
It does hundreds of other things besides cutting fabric. It’s truly a multi-use tool.
(If you’re wanting one, keep your eyes out for Black Friday weekend specials.)
If you’re looking for another big-ticket item such as a sewing machine, I highly recommend Baby Lock. I have loved using mine. I am currently sewing with a Desiny II sewing and embroidery machine on loan from Baby Lock, which I LOVE. It is a fantastic machine with a lot great features like the laser light that makes piecing half-square triangles a breeze, great lighting, throat space, adjustable speed, multitudes of stitches, etc. If you’ve had your eye on a Embroidery machine upgrade, now is a great time to talk to a dealer about the Destiny. The price has dropped a lot since the introduction of their new top-of-the-line embroidery machine, the Solaris.
But I realize, that machine is not in everyone’s budget. If you’re looking for a good beginner sewing machine I highly recommend the Rachel. For mid-level upgrades, I recommend checking out the Jazz and Lyric.
Baby Lock has also just released a brand new collection of entry-level machines called the Genuine Collection.
Whatever make you get, I definitely suggest visiting your nearest local sewing machine dealers, rather buying one from a big box store. The local dealer will have a variety of levels of machines – from beginner to super-deluxe. They also usually offer free classes with a machine purchase so that you can learn how to use all the features on the machine. And if the machine you buy isn’t right, they are more likely to let you exchange. They’ll also take your machine later as a trade in when you’re ready for an upgrade.. They will also be much more helpful should you need any technical support or long-term maintenance.
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the number of choices, or just running out of time, get a gift certificate! You can get a gift certificate from your favorite local quilt shop or any of the online shops listed on my sidebar. –>
(Never feel like a Gift Certificate is a cop out! Gift certificates are my favorite because I love the process of getting to use it just as much as receiving it in the first place. It’s like getting a present twice!)
A gift certificate could also be used to take a class at a local shop or an online video class on sites such as Craftsy (which has recently been rebranded as Blueprint).
I hope that gives you some fresh ideas for all the quilter’s on your list, during the holidays, or throughout the year! If you have any other great suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments.
If you’re looking for more, feel free to check out lists from years past here.